NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — When someone first hears about the 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Health and Wellness Center’s six-week running program, they probably think of a program aimed only at improving an Airman’s 1.5 mile run time. Don’t be fooled by the program’s title. The truth is, the Cardiorespiratory Endurance, Muscular Strength and Endurance, Flexibility, Body Composition and Healthy Eating Program, is just too long of a name.
What the HAWC’s staff aims to improve in the running program’s participants is more of an overall wellness by providing the tools and knowledge necessary to develop healthier habits for the rest of their lives.
“This program gives members a better idea of what should be involved in their own fitness programs going forward. Throughout the six weeks, they should gain the knowledge of what’s involved in a proper warm-up, exercise routine, cool-down and stretch,” said Brittney Nishi, 99th AMDS health and fitness specialist. “We always encourage them to come to us if they want a continued exercise program they can follow on their own.”
The program is designed to be increasingly more intense as the weeks progress, said Kent Terrillion, 99th AMDS fitness program manager.
“The participants complete group workouts Monday through Friday. Monday and Friday are run interval workouts,” Terrillion said. “These intervals progress in duration and intensity from week one to week six. Wednesday is distance running. Tuesday and Thursday are circuit training workouts.”
Staff members leading the program use the increasing intensity as a way to maximize the effect of a workout while at the same time preventing injuries.
“There are a host of benefits to this program,” Nishi said. “Airmen can gain the benefits of better overall fitness just by being involved in a consistent progressive fitness program. We also ensure they are involved in safe and effective exercise, thereby preventing injury.”
According to Nishi, the running program was first intended for Airmen at risk of failing the Air Force’s fitness assessment.
“Initially, we started this program for those who were really struggling with, or had multiple failures on the run component on the fitness assessment. The program has grown into so much more in the past three years,” Nishi said. “It is now a program for any and all members looking to improve their fitness and health in general.”
Members must commit to six weeks, five days a week, one-hour workouts from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. They must also commit to keeping a daily food log using a website that is reviewed by a diet technician.
“Each participant signs and routes a letter of commitment through their supervisors,” Terrillion said. “The members are committing to attending each workout and [pursuing] healthier behaviors like tobacco free living, healthy diet and stress management techniques.”
Whether perspective participants are getting back into shape after a profile or just wanting to improve their overall fitness, the HAWC has the knowledge and programs needed to help.
“We have had a number of success stories from this program,” Nishi said. “This program has saved a few careers, changed many members’ views on exercise, gotten many members back to running after months of being on profiles, changed dietary habits, and made huge changes in body compositions… Just to name a few.”
Senior Airman Ahlavatuah Garrett-Johnson, 99th Security Forces Squadron installation entry controller journeyman, considers herself one of those success stories. After completing the program Aug. 9 she was able to greatly improve upon her Aug. 11 fitness assessment.
“They lay everything out for you, but it’s up to you to work hard and do exercises to your full capacity. They motivated me and helped me with my technique,” Garrett-Johnson said. “If you can’t do something [one way], they will show you a different way to do it. I now know more workouts to [use] in the areas I feel like [I am weak.]”
“It’s a good program. I shaved over four minutes off my run [time]. That should be enough said. I would recommend it to anybody,” Garrett-Johnson added.
For more information on the HAWC’s six-week running program, call 702-653-3375.